23andMe, Inc., the industry leader in personal genetics, today announced a substantial reduction in price for its Personal Genome Service(TM), democratizing personal genetics and expanding the opportunity for more people to benefit from the genetic revolution.
Effective immediately, 23andMe is offering its service for US$399. 23andMe is able to offer the reduced price thanks to technological advancements made by the company that provides its DNA scanning technology, Illumina, Inc. In addition, 23andMe also unveiled today the expansion of its custom genotyping content along with new social networking and community features, laying the groundwork for enhanced customer interaction.
"By taking advantage of continuing innovation we are able to introduce a new chip that will give people more relevant data at a lower price," said Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe. "We are excited that we are opening doors for more people to learn about their health and ancestry and for more people to be able to participate in advancing research. It is important to democratize personal genetics and make it more accessible."
By offering these new features at a lower price, the company will broaden the opportunity for people to participate in 23andWe, the research division of 23andMe. Co-founder Linda Avey explained, "Our social networking platform enables members of the 23andMe community to connect with each other, find areas of common interest, and share information about themselves. We're excited about growing our network more rapidly; making it widely available fast tracks our research mission."
The price reduction is largely made possible following technological advancements by Illumina, a leading provider of genetic analysis technologies, to its DNA Analysis Beadchips, which 23andMe uses to genotype customers. The new Beadchip, called the HumanHap550-Quad+, makes use of a four-sample format. 23andMe also has added improved custom content to the new Beadchip, which will include a broader range of Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) variations and rare mutations not found on the previous Beadchip, thereby providing more relevant data on published associations, as well as maternal and paternal ancestry.
The 23andMe service attracts a wide variety of customers, from adoptees who want to learn where their ancestors came from and fill in the gaps in an unknown family medical history, to seniors who want to leave a genetic legacy for future generations, to the health conscious who want to learn about their genetic propensities for various conditions.
Making Genetics Personal with New Community Sharing Features
23andMe has also introduced a new forum for customers to learn and share their genetic insights via new community pages on its website. This social networking functionality gives customers the ability to create a profile, connect with others, share stories, ask questions about specific traits and ancestry groups and learn more about research studies.
The 23andMe(TM) service enables its customers to:
-- Search and explore genes contributing to their personal characteristics, such as lactose intolerance, athletic ability, and food preferences;
-- Learn how the latest research studies relate to their genomes;
-- Compare their profiles to family and friends who are also 23andMe participants and trace the inheritance of genes associated with specific traits;
-- Discover their genetic roots and learn about where and how their ancestors might have lived and the prehistoric events they experienced, and;
-- Actively participate in a new research approach and contribute to the advancement of the field of genetics.
The company also announced today a partnership with Ancestry.com, which makes the rich 23andMe ancestry content available to users of the Ancestry.com DNA service (see separate release).
23andMe is now available to consumers in the following locations: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vatican City State.